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The Politics of “Fracking”: Regulating Natural Gas Drilling Practices in Colorado and Texas

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Abstract

This article focuses on the politics of regulating natural gas fracking operations in Colorado and Texas. Between-state differences in the economic importance of natural gas production, political traditions, environmental impacts of drilling activities, and local governmental responses to risk reduction, and entrepreneurial activities are discussed in relation to policy-making initiatives. In the concluding section, I suggest that Colorado's regulatory approach offers a greater degree of environmental protection than Texas. Key reforms adopted in 2007–8 can be largely attributed to electoral victories that ensured unified party control over state government and the determined efforts of the proenvironmental governor to make changes in both the regulatory commission and in the substance of natural gas drilling policies.

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